Why You Need to Watch "The Good Doctor"

A far cry from his role as the psychopathic killer Norman Bates on A&E’s hit "Bates Motel," Freddie Highmore’s new show, "The Good Doctor" is the must-see show of this fall. ABC’s new drama, set in a prestigious hospital, follows the story of Shaun Murphy, a young doctor with both Autism and Savant Syndrome. With heightened intelligence, including near photographic recall and the ability to note minute, almost imperceptible details, Shaun makes the perfect surgeon. However, autism causes him to have difficulty communicating and interacting with others around him. He struggles to understand the nuances of social interactions, from the meaning of tones of voices to sarcasm.

Following a troubled childhood of abuse and loss, Shaun is given the chance to work at a prestigious hospital by a close friend. His hiring is controversial, with backlash coming from those who do not believe someone with his mental disorders and impairments could have the ability to be a successful, credible doctor.

The Good Doctor shines a light on the realities of those who live with autism, including the mistreatment and lack of understanding that they face. The show follows Shaun through both his triumphs and his failures, highlighting the difficulties and loss throughout his life.

As it raises awareness for autism, this show is simultaneously both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Watching Shaun as he is relegated to menial hospital tasks by a surgeon who sees him as inferior, your heart breaks at the cruelty that some people can have for those different from them. As you continue to watch, you see Shaun take on these tasks with pride, purpose, and passion, not letting anyone or anything stop him from finding the joy in doing what he loves.

The Good Doctor is dramatic and poignant, but unlike any other show on television. Shaun’s appreciation for life, the joy he finds in saving lives, and his unrelenting refusal to let his autism hold him back is inspiring.

However, it is not the the lives that Shaun saves despite the roadblocks put in his path, the selfless drive that he has to give everyone a chance at life, or the optimistic attitude he has despite the trauma that he has faced that makes this show so great. It is the kindness and faith that others begin to show in him, seeing past his disability and into his skills as a surgeon, that leave the viewer in awe.

Though the realities of cruelties and prejudice are evident, specifically in the arrogance of Shaun’s boss, the ones who see him for the skilled, passionate person that he truly is are the ones who make the show the most heartwarming.

As Shaun’s mentor says in the first episode, hiring him “[gives] hope to those people with limitations that those limitations are not what they think they are. That they do have a shot.” The show itself serves the same purpose.

If you only watch one show this fall, let it be "The Good Doctor," and I promise you won’t regret it.